IBFAN PRESS RELEASE
10 May 2002
How safe are infant formulas?
The death of a one-week old formula-fed baby in Belgium The recent death of a 5-day old boy from meningitis in Belgium raises important questions about the labeling and promotion of breast milk substitutes and the adequacy of commercial surveillance systems, issues currently being discussed at the Codex meeting in Halifax, Nova Scotia and attended by IBFAN (International Baby Food Action Network) delegates.
The baby in question was born healthy in a hospital in Aalst, Belgium and was fed on Nestlé’s Beba 1 infant formula. Soon after leaving hospital on his 5th day of life (the normal discharge time in Belgium) he became ill and his parents took him during the night to the University Hospital in Ghent.Soon after, on the 16th March, he died of meningitis.
The family contacted IBFAN when they realized that the death was caused by the Enterobacter Sakazakii, a very resistant bacteria that can live in powdered milk.
In April 2002 a communication about Enterobacter Sakazakii was issued by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stating that it found contamination in 14% of tins of formula tested (see the letter on the FDA website). It mentioned a "Belgian case" dating back to 1998 that had resulted in a number of ill children and 2 infant deaths. The warning suggests that powdered formula should not be used for feeding infants in neo-natal units, but notes that healthy infants have also become ill. The warning also states:
"As background information for health professionals, FDA wants to point out that powdered infant formulas are not commercially sterile products. Powdered milk-based infant formulas are heat-treated during processing, but unlike liquid formula products they are not subjected to high temperatures for sufficient time to make the final packaged product commercially sterile."
Nearly seven weeks later, on 2nd May the Federal Agency for Food Safety in Belgium, as a precautionary measure, asked Nestle Belgium to recall Beba 1 900 gram (codes DEXCPIKA and/or DEXCPIKB, expiry date 02 2003). An advertisement from Nestlé appeared in every newspaper and items also appeared in the evening news on the television channels. One of the newspaper articles cited the anger of the baby’s father at discovering that the parents of the two babies that died in 1998 were never informed of the cause of deaths. In its statements Nestle claims that the level of contamination is well below the acceptable international standard of 4 bacteria per 100g, and that the product is not sterile.
On the 10.30 pm news, Nestlé’s spokesman, Cedric de Prelle, said that “the germs present in the product help with the production of immune factors.”
The batch in question was manufactured by Nestlé Germany Kapeln. Nestle claims this was distributed only to Belgium and Switzerland, but the product has now also been taken off the market in Luxembourg (although no information has been supplied to consumers there). In previous cases the source of contamination has been notoriously difficult to find and companies have failed to admit the extent of problem and the distribution channels
This case has important implications for the current discussions surrounding labeling, health claims and risk assessment and demonstrates the need for publicly funded, centralized surveillance systems (Note 2). It also illustrates the risks of allowing the promotion and idealization of artificial feeding which undermine breastfeeding and encourage the unnecessary use of breast milk substitutes. There is clearly an urgent need for better labeling and for health care systems to provide truly independent information to parents. If a low level of contamination can harm health in this way, labels should state that the product is not sterile and may contain bacteria which could grow under certain conditions and cause harm.
IBFAN's legal advisor, Graham Ross, gave the following opinion: "Even if the manufacturers have indeed followed "highest standards", product liability laws still require clear warnings, especially in connection with products, such as formula, over which consumers can be expected to be highly concerned at all levels of risk."
For information contact:
Els Flies, Vereniging Begeleiding en Bevordering van Borstvoeding (VBBB - Belgian IBFAN group). +32 3 2817313 or +32 3 6771318. (Press releases in Dutch and French are available in the 'nieuws' section of http://www.vbbb.be/)
Patti Rundall, Baby Milk Action, 23 St Andrew’s St, Cambridge, CB2 3AX, UK. Tel: +44 (0) 1223 464420 fax: + 44 (0) 1223 464417
Elisabeth Sterken, INFACT Canada, 6 Trinity Square, Toronto, ON, M5G 1B1. Phone (416) 595-9819. Fax (416) 591-9355
Notes to editors
In 1985, When the Farley’s factory was infected by Salmonella, it took months before the source was identified. Holes in a spray dryer caused intermittent contamination. Salmonella was found in only 4 out of 267 packets of the product. The factory was eventually closed down. (Lancet Oct 17 1987). Speaking at the time, Sir Leslie Turnberg, Chairman of the UK Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS) commented: “The vital importance of infectious disease surveillance is clear from the global increase in infectious diseases and the looming threat of antibiotic resistance... The effectiveness of the PHLS is beyond question, and the astonishingly swift identification of the cause of the recent outbreak of salmonellosis from powdered baby milk undoubtedly saved many babies from becoming ill.”
In Jan 1997 Milupa/Nutricia was asked by the UK authorities to withdraw its infant formula Milumil from sale following evidence that a number of Milupa-fed infants had been infected with a rare strain of salmonella called salmonella anatum. Milupa issued contradictory and misleading statements, claiming that the problem was unique to the UK, that the link was not really proven and that the British authorities had “reacted over zealously.” In February, French authorities ordered the withdrawal of Lemiel 2. Milupa’s factory in Colmar, France was closed for one week for disinfection but the source of infection was not found (see Nutricia conceals salmonella risks – parents are kept in the dark Baby Milk Action Update 20, Feb 1997). Mr Klaas de Jonge, Director of Nutricia denied that there could be a problem with the factory or that other products could be affected. He suggested that because from January 1997 the company would no longer use milk bought in from French and Dutch farms, the problem was now contained. French authorities and the European Commission admitted that the same source material used for the French and UK milks is also in baby milks on sale in Belgium, Italy and Holland.
The Beba brand has been promoted in Belgium through the distribution of free samples of Beba 2 in the health care system. Nestlé has also been exposed for aggressively promoting Beba 2 baby milk in Hungary by sending free samples to new mothers after taking contact details from the birth registry (see Baby Milk Action Campaign for Ethical Marketing action sheet October 1999 action sheet October 1999, which includes scans of the promotional
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Jul 01 - Infant formula supplemented with long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) does not improve the neurodevelopmental outcomes of preterm infants, according to a report in the July issue of Pediatrics. Breast milk contains long-chain PUFA, which is found in high concentrations in cell membranes, particularly those of the central nervous system, and is thought to play an important role in brain development.
Because standard infant formula does not contain long-chain PUFA, researchers have reasoned that formula supplemented with this fatty acid would benefit preterm infants whose brains have not fully matured. But studies to date have yielded conflicting results. In the current study, neurodevelopmental test results at 9 and 18 months did not differ significantly among 195 preterm infants, regardless of whether they were fed long-chain PUFA-supplemented formula or standard formula while in the hospital.
However, at 18 months, the children who had been fed the supplemented formula showed a slight trend toward better developmental scores, especially among those born before 30 weeks of pregnancy, study author Dr. Mary S. Fewtrell, from the Institute of Child Health in London, and colleagues note. While this finding could have been due to chance, the researchers believe it warrants further study because it is possible that children given long-chain PUFA-supplemented formula will show measurable gains later in life.
"Failure to demonstrate a significant effect of long-chain PUFA supplementation on global tests of development during infancy does not exclude the possibility of more subtle effects, which might become apparent at a later age, when more detailed neurocognitive testing is possible," they write. "This emphasizes the need for long-term follow-up of infants enrolled in supplementation studies, currently being planned for our cohort."
But the researchers also note that there are concerns with the supplemented formula. At 18 months, children in this group were shorter and lighter than those given standard formula.
Furthermore, a group of 88 control infants who were breastfed scored higher on developmental tests than either group of formula-fed infants.
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced the recall of 1.5 million cans of powdered infant formula that may contain a pathogen that could be very dangerous to premature or newborn infants. The formula, manufactured by Wyeth Nutritionals at its facility in Georgia, Vermont, is sold nationally under many different brand names at retail stores and pharmacies.
FDA testing at the Wyeth plant found contamination by a food-borne pathogen called Enterobacter sakazakii (E. sakazakii). In rare cases, E. sakazakii can cause bacteria in the blood, meningitis or necrotizing enterocolitis, a severe intestinal infection. Those most at risk would be premature infants, newborns or babies with weakened immune systems. A statement from Wyeth says that its powdered formula is marketed for healthy, full-term infants.
No illnesses have been reported so far, a statement from the FDA said.
Douglas Petkus, a spokesman for Wyeth, said about a million cans had been distributed to stores -- the others were stopped before they got out of the warehouse.
The formula being recalled was manufactured between July 12 and September 25 of this year. It can be identified by the expiration dates on the bottom of the can: 07/28/05, 08/28/05 and 09/28/05. A six-digit character on the bottom of the cans should alert parents. The first four digits include K12N through K19N, L07N through L30N and N03N through N25N.
Consumers who have bought the affected product can return it to the store where they bought it for a full refund.
Brand names of products
•Baby Basics by Albertson's Soy Infant Formula with Iron, 2 lbs. (32 oz. or 908g)
•Baby Basics by Albertson's Soy Infant Formula with Iron, 1 lb. (16 oz. or 454g)
•Baby Basics by Albertson's Formula for older infants with iron, 1 lb. 15.7 oz. (900g)
•Kozy Kids Infant Formula with Iron, 16 oz. (1 lb. or 454g)
•Kozy Kids Soy Infant Formula with Iron, 16 oz. (1 lb. or 454g)
•CVS Soy Infant Formula with Iron, 16 oz. (1 lb. or 454g)
•Hill Country Fare Infant Formula with Iron, 2 lbs. (32 oz or 908g)
•Hill Country Fare Infant Formula with Iron, 1 lb. (1 lb. or 454g)
•Hill Country Fare Soy Infant Formula with Iron, 2 lbs. (32 oz. or 908g)
•Hill Country Fare Soy Infant Formula with Iron, 1 lb. (16 oz. or 454g)
•HEB Baby Infant Formula with Iron, 32 oz. (2 lbs. or 908g
•American Fare Little Ones Infant Formula with Iron, 2 lbs. (32 oz. or 908g)
•American Fare Little Ones Soy Infant Formula with Iron, 2 lbs. (32 oz. or 908g)
•American Fare Little Ones Formula for Older Infants with Iron & Calcium, 1 lb. 15.7 (900g)
•HomeBest Soy Infant Formula with Iron, 2 lb. (908g)
•Safeway Select Infant Formula with Iron, 2 lb. (908g)
•Safeway Select Infant Formula 2, 1 lb. 15.7 oz (900g)
•Healthy Baby Infant Formula with Iron, 2 lb. (908g)
•Healthy Baby Infant Formula with Iron, 1 lb. (454g)
•Healthy Baby Soy Infant Formula with Iron, 2 lbs. (908g)
•Healthy Baby Formula for Older Infants with Iron, 1 lb. 15.7 oz. (900g)
•Walgreens Infant Formula with Iron, 16 oz. (454g)
•Parent's Choice Infant Formula with Iron, 2 lbs. (908g)
•Parent's Choice Infant Formula with Iron, 16 oz. (454g)
•Parent's Choice Soy Infant Formula with Iron, 2 lbs. (908g)
•Parent's Choice Soy Infant Formula with Iron, 35 oz. (1 kg)
•Parent's Choice 2 Infant Formula with Iron, 1 lb. 15.7 oz (900g)
Cow's milk, since it is designed for an animal that gains ~1000 pounds in its first year WILL produce more rapid growth in the human infant (that is supposed to grow ~13 pounds in the first year) than human milk, because its concentrations of protein and calcium are about 3-4 times that of human milk, casein is 7 times that of human milk, minerals are 3.4 times as much, and growth hormones regulating rapid bovine growth are present. Obviously, over feeding any organism by a factor of 4 or more WILL produce rapid "growth", i.e., obesity, but no intelligent person could possibly consider this as healthy growth, or as any indication of the "superior" nutritive quality of bovine beverage over human milk for human infants. Indeed, the cow-fed human baby is always grotesquely obese, lethargic, ill tempered, plagued by rashes, suffers constant digestive problems, cries a lot, slow to learn, and smelly
Study Links Common Plastic to Birth Defects
Mon Mar 31, 4:44 PM ET Add Science - Reuters to My Yahoo!
By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A common ingredient used to make plastics such as baby bottles causes birth defects in mice -- defects that could also occur in people, U.S. researchers said on Monday.
They urged more research into the potential effects of bisphenol A, a chemical long criticized by environmentalists as being a hormone disruptor that could cause defects in embryos. The defects they found, when they occur in humans, can cause miscarriages or mental retardation such as Down Syndrome -- and they seem to be caused at what were considered to be low levels of exposure, the researchers report in the journal Current Biology. The discovery came by accident, Patricia Hunt and colleagues at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio report.
Her team first noted a higher than normal increase in abnormalities in developing egg cells in female mice. "We were looking at the processes as cells start to undergo division," Hunt, a geneticist, said in a telephone interview. "The chromosomes are supposed to line up in an orderly fashion so they can divide in an orderly fashion. What we saw was a tremendous increase in the number of cells in which the alignment of chromosomes in the cells were not orderly at all -- they were very disorderly." In the mice they were studying this only usually happens 2 percent of the time, but Hunt's team said 40 percent of the eggs were developing these problems.
They spent weeks looking for the cause. "Nothing turned up. But ... I noticed that the plastic cages looked kind of the worst for wear," Hunt said. It turned out that a harsh detergent used to clean the cages had broken down the plastic, releasing bisphenol A. Hunt's team deliberately exposed mice to small amounts of bisphenol A for short periods of time and found the abnormalities increased again.
CHEMICALS THAT DISRUPT HORMONES
Many labs are studying the effects of bisphenol A and other chemicals that act as endocrine disruptors -- affecting the actions of hormones in the body. Some scientists fear that developing fetuses and young children are especially vulnerable to these effects. "Pat Hunt hasn't shown damage in fetuses yet, but it has to be a subject of concern," said Fred vom Saal, an expert on the effects of toxins on reproduction at the University of Missouri.
"Bisphenol A is one of the most commonly used plastic materials in food containers, in beverage containers. This is a ubiquitous chemical ... at least in the developed world. It is one of the top 50 chemicals in production." Hunt, who studies the effects of aging on egg cells and fertility, said she was not even looking for chemical influences. "That's one of the things I think makes our study unusual," she said. While the study says nothing about the effects of bisphenol A in humans, Hunt said there is reason to believe they would be similar. The changes in the mice cause aneuploidy -- a misalignment of the chromosomes that is seen in human birth defects and miscarriages.
"You don't wait to prove that it does that in people before you take some regulatory action," Vom Saal said, adding that he hopes Congress may now agree to fund more studies on the effects of bisphenol A. "We are talking about these mice essentially drinking out of old baby bottles," Vom Saal said -- noting that hard plastic containers like bottles start leaching bisphenol A when they begin to look cracked or etched. He urged the chemical industry to make more plastic products that do not contain bisphenol A. Some of the funding for the study came from the industry-supported American Chemistry Council via the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences.
A chemical commonly found in plastic food containers harms growing mouse eggs, according to a new study1 - fuelling the debate over the additive's safety. The compound is called bisphenol A (BPA). It is widely used in see-through bottles and for lining tin cans. Its chemical activity mimics that of the female hormone oestrogen, so some fear that it might damage an unborn baby's growing sex organs.
In the latest study, Patricia Hunt of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio discovered unusual genetic defects in the eggs of her laboratory mice. She traced it to their hard plastic cages, which were leaching BPA. Even traces - 20 parts per billion in drinking water - altered 8% of eggs, her team found. Normally, only 1% of eggs are defective. Humans are exposed to similar BPA levels, Hunt says, although it is not known if they have the same effect.
In theory, such genetic flaws could cause a higher incidence of miscarriage or of conditions such as Down's syndrome. "You're talking about transmitting profound chromosomal damage to your baby," says PBA researcher Frederick vom Saal of the University of Missouri-Columbia. Steve Hentges of the American Plastics Council in Arlington, Virginia, counters that it is too early to condemn BPA - because the team have yet to show whether the genetic changes actually affect the mice's ability to reproduce. "We don't know how to interpret this yet," he argues.
Earlier investigations hinted that exposing animals in the womb to levels of BPA similar to those found in the environment upsets their sperm count, prostate and testicular development. Other studies - some commissioned by the plastics industry - have found BPA to be completely safe. Hunt has gone a step further in showing that BPA might also harm an egg's DNA; this damage might be inherited by offspring formed from those eggs. She finds that BPA stops chromosomes from dividing up equally before egg cells divide, possibly by interfering with oestrogen's normal activity.
Hunt, vom Saal and others would like to see BPA regulations tightened. Some regulatory bodies are already reviewing the allowable levels: a European Commission's food-safety committee, for example, last year slashed its upper limit for daily intake fivefold. The US Food and Drug Administration does not have a safety limit for BPA on foodstuffs. "We don't have any reason to believe there's any effect," argues the administration's George Pauli, who is involved in regulating the safety of plastics in food packaging. But the agency keeps tabs on new research, he adds.
Hunt, P.A. et al. Bisphenol A exposure causes meiotic aneuploidy in the female mouse. Current Biology, 13, 546 - 553, (2003).
Infant Formula be the Cause of Serious Illness in Infants
19:45 Nov 08, '03 / 13 Cheshvan 5764
(IsraelNN.com) Experts admit they remain stumped, treating the symptoms of seven infants who may have taken ill due to defective infant formula. Senior physicians at the Schneider’s Children’s Hospital explain they do not know what the illness is, but continue treating the signs and symptoms and administrating life support measures.
Concerned parents may telephone hotline numbers established to respond to questions concerning the formula. During the Sabbath, over 16,000 concerned parents called to find out more concerning the health alert. One may call *2700 from a cellular telephone, 1-700-503-353 (Maccabi HMO) or 1-700-707-700 (Health Ministry/Clalit HMO).
Health experts report the common denominator between the babies hospitalized is they all were fed Remedia non-milk base infant formula in the green box. While health officials admit this is far from conclusive evidence, they decided they have no alternative but to take the prudent step, calling on consumers to immediately stop using the product as a precautionary move. In addition, parents of children fed the specific formula whose children exhibit signs of fever, vomiting, or other maladies are instructed to go immediately to an emergency room. All others whom have ingested the formula are not at risk.
Officials of the Remedia Company have already begun preliminary testing together with the Health Ministry. To date, nothing out of the ordinary has been discovered. A senior company official explained the extensive tests that hopefully will provide conclusive answers will take a number of days.
At present, three infants are hospitalized in the Schneider’s Children’s Hospital as well as other hospitals. One of the infants in Schneider is showing signs of improvement and is breathing without the assistance of a mechanical respirator. The others are in intensive care units on respirators. The mystery illness has attacked the infants’ central nervous system. Doctors have indicated at least some of the infants have incurred neurological damage, not going into detail. There have been other children admitted to Schneider in recent month exhibiting the same signs and symptoms. One died and doctors are now back tracking to see if there was a connection.
According to Schneider’s Dr. Itamar Shalit, who heads the infectious disease unit, there is medical literature tracing central nervous system damage in infants to soy-based formula, but there have not been recorded cases in Israel. The health alert only became apparent after the onset of the Sabbath. Rabbis were consulted and the decision was made to permit the violation of the Sabbath, using non-Jews wherever possible, to notify the Orthodox public who do not listen to radios on the Sabbath to immediately stop using the baby formula. The messages went out to ZAKA volunteers nationwide and together with MDA ambulances, police vehicles and other emergency vehicles, the
message went out in Orthodox neighborhoods over vehicular loudspeakers.
At present, health community officials urge the public not to panic, stressing there is no conclusive proof that the formula is responsible. Remedia management has announced consumers may bring containers back to stores and their money would be refunded. Stores have been instructed to remove the particular formula from shelves pending the outcome of Health Ministry tests in the coming days. No mention has been made at this time indicating there is a fear of possible industrial sabotage or terror.
Baby Formula Maker Admits Error
BERLIN and JERUSALEM, Nov. 11, 2003
Two-year-old Ido Avrahamov is examined at a medical center in the central Israeli town of Or Yehuda after being given Remedia baby formula
"I have no words to express the intensity of pain and the sorrow for the hurt families." Remedia owner Moshe Miller
(CBS/AP) The Israeli Mossad and Shin Bet secret service agencies have joined the investigation of a faulty baby formula that has been linked to the deaths of three infants, an Israeli newspaper said Monday. The kosher formula, made for Remedia by the German company Humana Milchunion does not contain Vitamin B1, even though the package said the product included the essential nutrient.
It is also sold in the United States to ultra-Orthodox Jewish families, and has been taken off shelves in heavily Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in New York. The Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot reported Monday that a baby who had been fed the milk substitute was in serious condition in a Boston hospital. The head of the Israeli health ministry, Boaz Lev, raised the possibility of sabotage to the kosher soy-based milk substitute, saying "it is impossible to know if this is intentional or not." Israel's police are beginning a criminal investigation into possible manslaughter charges, police officials said Monday.
A Health Ministry spokesman, after originally indicating that the report in the Haaretz daily was true, later refused to confirm it. "All the factors that deal with the inquiry of this type and scope are doing their jobs," spokesman Robbie Steinberg said. Asked if the two security agencies were involved, he said, "I have no clear knowledge of that and I have no comment.
Worried parents are taking their babies to clinics, where one ultra-Orthodox mother told CBS News Correspondent Robert Berger, "I'm really scared." Two lawsuits were filed against Remedia on Monday, seeking more than $222 million in damages, Haaretz said. The Health Ministry believes that some 5,000 children have consumed the product during the past six months. Neither company has yet explained why Vitamin B1 was listed as an ingredient or why it wasn't included in the milk substitute. Humana is conducting its own investigation with German officials, and American food giant H.J. Heinz Co., which owns 51 percent of Remedia, has offered its assistance. Humana said Monday that results of initial tests it had conducted showed that the formula did contain Vitamin B1. The discrepancy between the Israeli and German tests was not explained. Israeli health experts were scheduled to fly to Germany to visit the plant where the Remedia formula is produced.
"We will compare and discuss test results with the Israeli authorities in order to contribute actively toward clearing up the issue," Humana said in a statement. Remedia said Sunday that it had slightly altered the makeup of the formula several months ago because of new scientific developments. A Remedia official has hinted at sabotage, the Yediot Ahronot daily reported. Vitamin B1, also known as thiamin, is vital for development of the nervous system in babies. Health Ministry officials say more than 20 infants suffered from a disorder caused by a deficiency in the vitamin after drinking the formula, and three have died. After determining the formula did not contain the vitamin, the Health Ministry called for all infants who had been fed the soy drink for extended periods to be checked by a doctor and given thiamin shots.
The Health Ministry, which recalled the soy drink on Friday, is considering recalling all Remedia products, Steinberg said. The ministry may also take legal action against the company, he added.
Do not miss this excellent article about formula!
Infant formula milk contains dangerous bug
02 Jan 2004
Traces of a bacterium that can cause serious illness in newborns has been found in each of four infant formula milk factories tested. A study, published in the Lancet, looked for the presence of a bug called E. sakazakii, which can cause meningitis or severe gut infections. The samples from the factories appear to confirm contamination of formula milk as a potential source.
The testing was carried out by Dutch researchers and funded by Nestle. Although relatively few cases of Enterobacter sakazakii have been seen worldwide so far, it is seen as a possible 'emerging infection' by health experts, possibly causing a far more serious problem in years to come. Several outbreaks among premature babies have been recorded, and in this vulnerable group, mortality is high - between 40% and 80%. Cases have not emerged among babies more than a few weeks old unless their immune systems have been already weakened by other conditions.
Some premature babies cannot breastfeed, or are deliberately given specially enriched formula feed from birth in an effort to maximise weight gain in the first weeks of life. It has been suggested before that it might be possible that powdered feeds might carry these bacteria, but evidence for this is sketchy.
The researchers, from Wageningen University in the Netherlands, were funded by one of the world's biggest food - including infant formula - makers, Nestle. They examined samples from four infant formula factories, alongside other food factories and 16 samples from households. It was not revealed by the researchers whether these were all Nestle factories. A small number of samples from all but one of the factories tested possible for E. sakazakii.
Five out of 16 households tested showed signs of the bacterium. The researchers wrote: 'The presence of E. sakazakii in factories producing milk powder, cereals, chocolate, potato flour and pasta, as well as in domestic environments, strongly indicates that it is a widespread microorganism. 'This should be taken into account in the design of effective control measures.'
Dr Jeffrey Farber, from the Bureau of Microbial Hazards at Health Canada, said that a growing number of outbreaks of infection among premature babies provided 'compelling evidence' that milk-based powdered infant formulas were a source of infection.
He said that while liquid formulas were heat-treated at high temperatures, powdered versions were not, and that blenders used to prepare the feeds later on could easily become a reservoir of infection for entire wards. He said that it might be sensible to minimise the amount of time between the preparation of the formula and its consumption by the baby. 'The fact that the disease it causes has a very high mortality rate and that the organism affects very young infants is a cause for concern.'
Last Updated: 2003-01-10 13:00:25 -0400 (Reuters Health)
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Contamination with a potentially lethal bacterium is prompting the recall of 3,030 cans of infant formula especially designed for babies born prematurely, the manufacturer, Mead Johnson Nutritionals of Evansville, Ind., said Thursday. Subject to recall are 505 cases of EnfaCare LIPIL 12.9-ounce cans of powdered infant formula bearing the code BME01, with an expiration date of January 1, 2004 (read as "1JAN04" on the can).
Mead Johnson believes the recalled batch of powdered formula may be contaminated with Enterobacter sakazakii bacteria, which can cause meningitis or potentially lethal infections of the intestinal tract or blood. Premature infants are especially vulnerable to these types of infections.
At this time "we are unaware of any reports of illness associated with E. sakazakii as a result of feeding infant products from batch BME01," Mead Johnson said in a statement. "However, product from batch BME01 should not be used." The cans of recalled formula were shipped to hospitals, retail stores and government-run WIC clinics during December of 2002.
Consumers with questions about the recall can call Mead Johnson toll-free at 1-888-587-7275 for more information.
Cancer charity turns down £1m Nestlé donation
Thursday May 6, 2004
A leading British cancer charity has rejected a £1m approach from Nestlé over accusations that the Swiss food conglomerate promotes unsafe baby milk powder in developing countries. Breakthrough Breast Cancer, a high-profile organisation supported by supermodels including Elle Macpherson and Kate Moss, turned down the proposed link amid concern about the company's motives.
The charity, renowned for its fashion fund-raising, feared that Nestlé, target of a long running boycott by anti-baby formula campaigners, hoped to use Breakthrough's respectability and positive image to bolster its own position. The company offered to support the charity financially and promote its work on packets of Nestlé breakfast cereals, such as Shredded Wheat and Golden Grahams. The charity declined the offer, which was made by Cereal Partners, a joint venture with a US firm producing Nestlé's breakfast brands, because research suggests that breast-feeding reduces the risk of breast cancer. Delyth Morgan, Breakthrough's chief executive, said: "We can confirm we were approached by Cereal Partners regarding a proposed cause-related marketing promotion but after careful consideration decided not to proceed with the partnership."
Breakthrough, which has close links with Marks & Spencer and Avon, aims to raise £7m a year and funds research projects at the Institute of Cancer Research in London. The refusal is a blow for Nestlé, which campaigners accuse of jeopardising the lives of mothers and infants by pushing powdered baby milk sales in developing countries where water supplies are often polluted. Thousands of mothers suffer malnourishment, argue Nestlé's critics, and thousands of bottle-fed children die of diarrhoea. The International Baby Food Action Network also alleges that Nestlé fails to abide by an international code banning unethical marketing practices, including inducements to doctors to recommend bottles and free trial supplies of milk substitute to mothers.
Nestlé rejects the charges, insisting it is a socially responsible company. Patti Rundall, policy director of Cambridge-based Baby Milk Action, the British wing of the anti-Nestlé network, said: "With its enormous marketing budget, running into the billions, Nestlé undermines breast-feeding, which is a lifeline for infants. "Evidence continues to mount about the importance of breast-feeding in the long term in reducing heart disease, obesity, diabetes and breast cancer." Ms Rundall said that as a result of the Nestlé boycott, the big UK development agencies had for years been refusing to accept money from Nestlé, as had several health authorities, universities and celebrities.
"They all know how Nestlé will use their good name to cover up its dangerous marketing. It is heartening that health charities with a UK focus are starting to consider the global impact of such companies too."
In a statement, the company said: "Nestlé takes its corporate social responsibilities very seriously. The company firmly believes that breast-feeding is the best way to feed a baby, and we are strongly committed to the protection and promotion of breast-feeding. "However, when mothers cannot or choose not to breast-feed, infant formula is the only product recognised by the World Health Organisation as a suitable alternative. Nestlé globally adopts the WHO code." Writers Germaine Greer and Jim Crace pulled out of the Guardian Hay Festival two years ago after Nestlé was named as one of the sponsors, and the company's vice-chairman, Niels Christiansen, spoke on the subject Good Business: a Moral Maze.
This week (May 27, 2005), the Chinese government discovered that Nestles brand milk powder contains unsafe levels of iodine, and immediately that the dangerous product be removed from market shelves. The milk powder was used as an infant formula mix, and marketed under the name, "Jin Pai Growing 3-Milk Powder." American health officials are faced with the same challenge, but refuse to take action.
What are the consequences of ingesting excess iodine? It has been established that the thyroid gland is regulated by iodine metabolism. Scientific studies have linked the consumption of high amounts of iodine to increased risk of thyroid cancer.
Virtually all American adults over age 50 have one or more thyroid tumors, according to an autopsy study published in the New York Times on November 8, 1994, page C-1.
These tumors are usually go undetected, as they are not clinically diagnosed, but they are there upon histological examination of thyroid tissue upon autopsy. The autopsy study was performed on thousands of premature deaths (such as automobile accident victims) and the result was shockingly unexpected.
Dairy farmers use iodine rubs to sanitize cow's udders before and after milking. The iodine drips into the milk and is then processed for human consumption. Milk in the New York area was analyzed (Winston Labs, 1998) and found to contain hazardous levels of iodine averaging between 20 and 30 times the safe level. Ten pounds of iodine-rich milk are required to produce one pound of cheese. Twelve pounds of the same iodine-rich milk are used to produce just one pint of ice cream. Over 21 pounds of milk are needed to produce one pound of butter. Seven pounds of milk are required to make one pound of whole milk powder, while eleven pounds of milk are used to make one pound of non-fat milk powder. Concentrated milk products are concentrated iodine products.
Consumers should immediately stop from eating iodine-rich dairy products. Dairymen must immediately cease from using iodine to neutralize bacteria on cow udders. American health regulators (FDA, USDA) should become as equally vigilant as their Chinese counterparts.
"Formula-fed babies, at the age of three months, were secreting low levels of serum antibodies to bovine proteins contained in their formula."
"A Prospective Study of Humoral Immune Response to Cow Milk Antigens in the First Year of Life" Pediatric-Allergy-Immunology, August, 1994, 5(3)
By Park Chung-a
The Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) yesterday ordered four baby food companies to withdraw their infant formula products from the market after inspectors found traces of potentially life-threatening bacteria in them.
Among 12 formula products for infants less than 6 months old, low levels of Enterobacter sakazakii (E. sakazakii) were found in four products, the agency said, adding that each product contained from 0.36 cfu (colony forming units) to 2.3 cfu per 100 grams.
The four products are Namyang Dairy’s Namyang Step Myongpum Yukinong 1, Maeil Dairy’s Babywell Soy 1, Pasteur Milk’s Nuseng Yugidongjang 1 and Ildong Hoodis’ Hoodis Baby Meal Sunyukinong 1.
E. sakazakii is a motile peritrichous, gram-negative rod from the family Enterobacteriaceae. It is a rare, but life-threatening cause of neonatal meningitis, sepsis and necrotizing enterocolitis. In general, the reported fatality rate varies from 40 percent to 80 percent among newborns diagnosed with this type of severe infection. The type of meningitis caused by E. sakazakii may lead to cerebral abscesses or infarctions with cyst formation and severe neurological impairment. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 15 of 47 infants infected with sakazakii bacillus died.
Experts say that consumers should not be too alarmed since the bacillus can be eradicated by heating the product. Noting that the lethality of the bacillus is 20 percent to 40 percent, an official of the KFDA said heating the product to a temperature over 70 degrees Celsius would kill it. After heating the product to such a temperature, it can be given to babies when it is cooled, according to the official.